Halloween in France is a relatively new thing, and in some places, it is still met with resistance and viewed as yet another example of Americanization. As such, Halloween is of course, very un-French!
In 1982, the American Dream Bar in Paris began to celebrate Halloween, and by the end of the decade, parties began to spring up in English-speaking areas of cities, mainly thanks to US expats. In 1992, the fancy dress company, CÃ©sar, with its spooky costumes, set up in France, and five years later, the American multinationals, Disneyland, McDonaldâ€™s, and Coca-Cola were really going to town on using Halloween imagery in their seasonal advertising campaigns.
Like many European countries, this time of year is for religious services, visiting cemeteries in order to pay tribute to the departed, and to honoring saints, so Halloween is generally, particularly in the eyes of older folk, seen to be somewhat disrespectful. Indeed, there have actually been political and religious boycotts of the celebration, and according to some, since the early 2000s, Halloween has been in decline.
These days itâ€™s still celebrated – mostly by children, who dress up in appropriately scary (not!) costumes – as opposed to the kind of anything-goes apparel seen in the US – who then go out trick or treating, usually around shops, not peopleâ€™s homes. Trick or Treat? in France is called des bonbons ou des coups de baton?Â (candy or a stick?)0